By Joe Christensen
Former Twins pitcher J.D. Durbin is 4-1 with a 4.11 ERA for the Phillies, and he told the Philadelphia Daily News, he’s finally comfortable.
“In Minnesota, you felt like you had to try to fit in,” Durbin said. “Here, you don’t.”
Twins teammates teased Durbin, too. The difference, for him: Because of the good-natured essence of the Phillies’ ribbing, he doesn’t change his bombastic, talkative behavior.
The climate in the Phillies’ clubhouse, sheriffed by polar complements Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley, permits closer Brett Myers’ crass and goofy irreverence, as long as Myers absorbs any rebukes, which he gladly does. It encourages the oozing charisma of 23-year-old ace Cole Hamels, also known as “Young Hollywood.”
A level above, the gentle hand of manager Charlie Manuel and the chuckling, grandfatherly leadership of general manager Pat Gillick let the boys be boys, and Durbin loves it.
“Absolutely,” he said. “There’s 25 different egos. Twenty-five personalities. If you let somebody be themselves, they’re going to sink or swim that way. I can be myself here. Relax. Have fun. So far, I’m swimming.”